Bluefin's Bennett said that a client who selected Corporate Patients Pathways has seen a reduction in claims costs "after 12 months of quite a lot of emotive response and resistance".
Bupa said today that Open Referral differs from Corporate Patient Pathways because it is not based on agreements with particular hospital groups but offers members a "a choice of consultants where possible, based on the patient's exact needs and our extensive knowledge of the consultant's record of treating Bupa patients".
Bupa's approach in part reflects the philosophy of Alliance Surgical, a network of doctors which believes that the key to tackling rising PMI costs is to tackle unexplained variation in clinical practice and costs. Bupa told Health Insurance in March this year that it was "in discussions" with Alliance Surgical, but said today that the network was not involved in Open Referral.
The Open Referral process has been trialled during the last 12 months with both large corporate clients and individual customers and Bupa says it has already "successfully guided" tens of thousands of patient, including its own employees. It says that expressions of dissatisfaction within the group are around one third of normal rates.